Long-duration gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are an extremely rare outcome of the collapse of massive stars and are typically found in the distant universe. Because of its intrinsic luminosity (L approx. 3 x 10(exp 53) ergs/s and its relative proximity (z = 0.34), GRB 130427A reached the highest fluence observed in the gamma-ray band. Here, we present a comprehensive multiwavelength view of GRB 130427A with Swift, the 2-meter Liverpool and Faulkes telescopes, and by other ground-based facilities, highlighting the evolution of the burst emission from the prompt to the afterglow phase. The properties of GRB 130427A are similar to those of the most luminous, high-redshift GRBs, suggesting that a common central engine is responsible for producing GRBs in both the contemporary and the early universe and over the full range of GRB isotropic energies.